Budo World

The 1st BAMIS International Forum—Budō SymposiumInvestigating the possibilities of body and bind integrated science in budō~Learning from Kanō Jigoro‘s achievements to consider the present~

V. Kanō and his Contemporaries: Tesshū and Nishikubo

Susumu Nagao (Meiji University)

An opinion offered by Professor Masatoshi Sugie regarding Kodokan Jūdō states; “Kanō, who enrolled into the University of Tokyo in 1877, progressed his training in jūjutsu while at the same time adopting rationalism from the West. It can be considered that this is what effectively helped in accomplishing his modernised system. From this, it can be claimed that Kodokan Jūdō, based on the heart of “wakon-yōsai (Japanese spirit combined with Western learning)”, is a culture built on a modern foundation that adopts scientific rationalism” (Japan Society of Physical Education, Health and Sport Sciences 56th Taikai – The Historical Research Section Symposium).

Two men who had awareness to be receptive toward the advancing in “modern age” and “Western culture” yet at the same time maintain a level of caution, and who had the consciousness to discover the common points of modern Western culture and Japan showing the good things Japan have to offer to the world, were of Uchimura Kanzō(born in 1861) and Nitobe Inazō (born in 1862). Both are from the same generation as Kanō,and also received a similar higher education.

In the explanation of “Tairyō (which has two meanings; a character which takes in new ideas without discrimination, and the skill to think of various things simultaneously and put them together without mixing them up)”, it was the idea of “shūshin-hō” in the “General and Educational Benefits of Jūdō” (1889) that Kanō aimed for, and perhaps it is expressive of Kanō himself.

On the other hand, during the notable decline of bujutsu after the Meiji Restoration, it was through the gekken-kōgyō (public fencing performances) instigated by people such as Sakakibara Kenkichi to preserve the existence of bujutsu, and also the movements that reconsidered bujutsu and employment of martial arts in security forces (such as the police) as a result of the Satsuma Rebellion, that Yamaoka Tesshū showed clear differences to Kanō. Tesshū’s style of kenjutsu (the Mutō-ryū) was not aimed at simply practising techniques, nor was it for competition. Its main focus was in the continuous training of the body and mind, in other words, the path to “kenshōgodō (enlightenment of the consciousness of one’s true self)”. He established his vision of (ideological) kenjutsu through intense training and Zen meditation in his dōjō (the Shunpūkan).

In the administration of budō, Hiromichi Nishikubo (born in 1863) tried to put Tesshū’s ideology into practice. The movement to include budō into the regular school curriculum began in the middle of the Meiji period, and by 1910, gekken (sword technique) and jūdō were accepted as optional subjects in junior high schools. However, Nishikubo worried about the factual deficiencies in this curriculum. With his experience as an administrator, a member of the House of Peers, and the vice president of Dai-Nippon Butokukai, he worked on this by pointing out the importance of such things as cultivating a “bushi-like spirit” through the training of body and mind through budō, to standardise the names budō, kendō, and jūdō, and to improve the quality and quantity of budō education. (For more on Nishikubo, see Arita Yūji’s research). It is said that Nishikubo had no direct contact with Tesshū, however his meeting with Zenjirō Kagawa (Tesshū’s leading disciple) as the head of internal affairs of Yamanashi Prefecture, prompted his adoration of the Mutō-ryū.

The achievements of each, Kanō, Tesshū and Nishikubo raised here show the diversity and individuality in the formation process of modern budō, and how they have influenced various areas of today’s jūdō and kendō.